Maybe its size wasn’t the only reason the government didn’t want AIG to fail. The company has a lot more going on than just insurance.
Something worth knowing about AIG is that it was founded by an uncle of the Kenneth Starr who served as special prosecutor during the move to impeach President Bill Clinton. That uncle was Cornelius Vander Starr, and the company was started up in Shanghai in 1919 under the name American Asiatic Underwriters.
For decades, according to investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, AIG has supplied the CIA with eyes and ears in Asia, watching “rising players… particularly in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other countries.” Its insurance files, Madsen says, were available to be searched by the CIA.
More recently, Madsen adds, AIG has been “used as a major ‘placement’ operation for a number of the CIA’s Asia-based non-official cover (NOC) officers.”
Since 1990, AIG has owned an aircraft leasing company that is the second largest such company in the world. It’s International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), a company that leases jet planes to airlines (American, Continental, Delta, KLM, Air France, and Aer Lingus, and that’s only the short list) and to wealthy people, including Hollywood personalities, who charter them.
So far, normal activities of an aircraft leasing company—but ILFC also leased planes to Evergreen International Airlines, a company based in Oregon and Arizona that has allegedly carried out special flight missions for the CIA.
In an investigation in the late 1980s, the Oregonian delved into the matter of Evergreen’s relationship with the CIA and elicited from its head, Delford Smith, a confirmation that the company had “one agreement” under which it “provide[s] occasional jobs and cover to foreign nationals the CIA wants taken out of other countries or brought into the United States.” In 1980 an Evergreen plane flew the Shah of Iran, who was terminally ill, from Panama to Egypt.
And the Oregonian report included a statement by Hans Kindermann, who worked for Evergreen as a pilot in El Salvador, that he had flown Salvadoran president Jose Napoleon Duarte to meetings with insurgents and used his plane to chauffeur visiting politicians from the U.S., as well as flying utility workers to repair power lines blown up by saboteurs.